Policy is a new area of work being undertaken by the Insights team to ensure that the Trust’s research findings can influence positive change for disabled people and people with mental health challenges in Gloucestershire. Here you can find out more about what this involves and how to get in touch.
What does Barnwood’s policy work involve?
The word ‘policy’ can be quite confusing and it’s sometimes hard to know what it means when an organisation or group talks about its policies. The easiest way to think about a policy is as a guideline, a standard or a direction. Policies help us to make decisions, to understand what we need to do and why we need to do it. A policy can be a simple as ‘To save energy we always switch off the light when we leave the room’.
Having a policy about something means we can be clear about and responsible for the things that we do as a Trust. Our policies help us turn our vision for our work into reality and make sure we are doing the things we say we will.
Things like making Gloucestershire a better place to live for disabled people and people with mental health challenges. Part of this means looking at ways we can use our learning and policies to promote change in our society and more resilience in our communities.
Resilience is another tricky word but we think of it as how people and their community can adapt and respond to difficult situations.
The last two years have been particularly difficult for everyone, but our research has shown that in Gloucestershire, like much of the UK, disabled people have been disproportionately impacted and as we face additional challenges in the future this inequality is likely to continue.
This ongoing inequality means it’s particularly important that part of our policy work includes being aware of new and changing laws, the work of government departments and the priorities of other organisations as this will help us respond, influence and advocate for disabled people and people with mental health challenges in our county.
Recently this has included partnering with Inclusion Gloucestershire to respond to the government’s National Disability Strategy. You can read out joint statement here:
Using our Insights
A key part of our policy work involves looking at the implications of our research findings in order to proactively respond. For example, the Our Changing World research carried out by the Trust in 2020 included a recommendation to organisations to ‘Provide clear, timely, and accessible information about Covid-19 and sources of support’. We realised that this was so important we had to act on it ourselves. That is how our Let’s Be Clear campaign for clear face masks and clearer communication began.
Our research in 2020 and 2021 about the role of community groups and voluntary organisations during the pandemic, including the Resourcing Resilient Gloucestershire report, has also involved creating recommendations for funders. As a grant-giving organisation we had to recognise that we must also change some of the ways we were using our funding opportunities based on the themes that emerged from this research.
Our policy work represents our commitment to be responsive to local and national legislation, evidence-based research, and the lived experience of those we work alongside.